I was there to register to ride in the second edition of L’Etape Australia, competing on 127 kilometres of closed roads through the beautiful Snowy Mountain Region of New South Wales, Australia.
I completed my registration, collected my pack and joined the audience gathering for a session on stage hosted by the voice of cycling, Phil Liggett and local cycling commentator Matt Keenan.
They introduced and spoke to the event organiser and Parliamentary Secretary representing the appropriate Minister in the NSW Government.
There were also two professional cyclists, both of whom are riding L’Etape tomorrow, Saturday 2 December 2017.
Chris Froome is the reigning Tour de France Champion and overall 4 time winner of the greatest stage race. He also won the Tour of Spain this year. He is the best stage race cyclist of the generation.
He is also charming, self effacing, interactive and humble. He speaks well and is generous in his interaction with the audience, posing for many photos and engaging in easy conversations when the formalities concluded.
Amanda Spratt was also welcomed to the stage. An Australian and Pro Tour winner, her 5th place in this years Women’s Giro was unexpected. She is also a two times National Road Race Champion.
Like Chris Froome, she is articulate, entertaining and humble and equally as generous when formalities concluded.
Both are true ambassadors for the sport of cycling and are respected by all cyclists and cycling fans, and cross gender divides.
They are both well paid be it in proportion with the vastly different budgets available to Men’s and Women’s teams.
Chris earns substantial income from the product endorsements he elects to accept whereas Amanda’s manager is spending as much time seeking endorsement opportunities as Chris’s manager spends rejecting them.
The true illustration of the difference between the two was evident about 90 minutes later.
I was shopping in the local Jindabyne supermarket and here was Amanda with a shopping basket, buying her groceries for dinner and her sports drinks. I imagine she is preparing her own dinner tonight and pre race breakfast tomorrow, Probably lunch today and tomorrow too.
Chris Froome is, by all accounts a down to earth and unpretentious person. I may be wrong, however I very much doubt Chris Froome will have to do his own shopping and food preparation.
My thinking is, this is representative of the difference between male and female professional cyclists, and many other sports as well.